The project „At the End Of The Day“ is a poetic portrait of a territory – the Outer Hebrides Islands – through the prisme of the young generation living there.
The Outer Hebrides are a string of Islands - 220km long with 27 000 inhabitants, dispatched on seven different islands - located far up North of Scotland, on the edge of what used to be Europe before Brexit.
It all started with a book I read „The Stornoway way“ by Kevin Mc Neil, a writer from Lewis, the main island. In his book he depicts a place in a closed, hostile climate, where young people kill boredom with extreme practices. Drugs, alcohol, car races ... a kind of Trainspotting in an island setting. Then few months later I come across coincidently with a brochure touting the same place as a world of peace and disconnection for the city-dwellers we are. On the one hand, the paradisiacal tourist vision; on the other, the very dark one of the child of the country.
The contrast grips me. Does the postcard stand up to reality?
What is the daily life of these young people now, where the population is aging and the economy is declining, where jobs and studies are limited and where the conservative mentality of the community leaves little room for unconventional behaviors?
I wonder how the young people develop a sense of belonging strong enough to decide to stay and keep floating the islands.
After two years following this project, overall, the young people I met show this same ability to bounce back. A kind of happy fatalism. When I look at this gallery of portraits, they give me the impression of being tied to an elastic.: most of them want to go elsewhere, but they are tirelessly brought back to their islands. By attachment but also, very often, by fear of the unknown.
Eventually, „At the end of the day“ is not only about them but also about us. I believe that such places are like a zoom on our society, where we have multiple choices, instantly. Where everything goes fast, so fast sometimes that it becomes confusing.
It mirrors our own choices and lifestyle.